Mayor’s salary high, but not for the North

For Whitehorse, a city of only 22,000 people, $77,000 is a pretty hefty mayoral salary. Corner Brook, Newfoundland, has 20,083 people, but its mayor only makes $27,032. Being mayor of Uxbridge, Ontario, gets you $39,804.

For Whitehorse, a city of only 22,000 people, $77,000 is a pretty hefty mayoral salary.

Corner Brook, Newfoundland, has 20,083 people, but its mayor only makes $27,032.

Being mayor of Uxbridge, Ontario, gets you $39,804.

Westmount, Quebec, has 20,494 people – and is one of Canada’s richest municipalities.

Its mayor pulls in $43,934.

But none of those cities are North of 60.

Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem oversees 18,700 people – and pulls in $58,587 – plus a municipal officer’s allowance of $29,293.

Last year, Iqaluit city council voted to pay $70,000 to its part-time mayor.

“A lot of the time, our wages in the North are certainly more than they would be down south,” said Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway.

The median Yukon household income is $8,000 more than the Canadian average of $55,016, according to 2000 census data.

Throughout her term, Buckway made $72,500 per year.

In late August, Whitehorse city council voted to increase the mayor’s salary to $77,000 by 2011.

Being mayor isn’t a nine-to-five gig; Buckway needs to be on call 24/7, said Councillor Dave Stockdale during an August 24 council meeting.

“It’s not uncommon to get calls at 11:30 at night, or when you’re dishing out Thanksgiving Dinner for your family,” said Buckway.

It’s not only the running-a-city part, though.

Even running for election imposes large financial risks.

“Basically, you’re putting aside your business interests, or you’re giving up a job in order to run for council,” said Buckway.

“You pretty much put things on the line,” she said.

And of course, there’s the higher Yukon cost of living – be it inflated housing prices or heating costs.

Running a capital city imposes some extra mayoral duties – but not necessarily a salary premium.

Charlottetown, PEI (population 32,174), like Whitehorse, is a capital city.

And, like Whitehorse, it recently hosted the Canada Games.

Its mayor only makes $48,000.

Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick (population 50,000), has a mayoral salary of only $25,616.88, plus $12,808.44 in annual expenses.

Whitehorse also takes up a lot of space – but mayors aren’t medieval lords; they are rarely compensated based on the number of hectares they govern.

Bluewater, ON (population 9,600), is the same size as Whitehorse, but its mayor brings in less than $10,000.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com